Thursday, April 19, 2007

Remembering Tim

My dad always has this saying: “Life is full of swift transitions.”

Well, yesterday, I along with the rest of the newsroom were faced with the monumental task of accepting one of life’s hardest transitions: the sudden death of one of our own.

As many of you read this morning, Times columnist Tim Greening collapsed and died yesterday. For those of us that knew him, his death seems almost impossible to comprehend.

I had the privilege of first getting to know Tim when I joined the The Times’ Living team in 2003. At that time, the Living team included Tim, Lane Crockett, Margaret Martin and Kathie Rowell as editor. And it was quite intimidating for an inexperienced youngster like me to join a team of well-established veterans.

And, as with any new job or task, getting adjusted to a new position and learning its rhythm always involves growing pains.

But Tim always had a way of making me feel like everything was going to be OK. I was the youngest in the crew and for me, the Living team at that time felt almost familial, well, about as familial as a workplace can get. And in that way, Tim was sort of a big brother to me.

We spent many days and evenings trying to make - and a lot of times missing - deadline to crank out stories. Most of the time he was pulling double duty on the copy desk, too. But during those times, we also shared many laughs.

He had a way of making me smile on even the craziest of days, whether it was with a funny e-mail or a hilarious quip.

And through those times, we formed a unique camaraderie. We didn’t talk everyday or hang out much beyond the newsroom, but anytime we saw each other, we always had something encouraging to share with each other.

The best part about Tim is that he was always the same whenever, wherever.

When I found out through his column that his grandmother died this past February, I immediately contacted him to share my condolences. Just a few weeks before, I had gone through a similar situation when my own grandma died. I just wanted him to know I was thinking of him, and was praying for him and his grieving family.

We ended up chatting for awhile, catching up on each others lives. He was still the same ol’ Tim. Still making me laugh. Still encouraging me to aim higher. But he also did something really special after that conversation: he honored the memory of my grandma in his next column.

That meant so much to me and my family. That’s just who Tim was - one of the good guys.

I was so glad to be able to share my gratitude when he dropped by the newsroom a few days after that, something he would still do occasionally after his full-time departure from The Times.

But I had no idea that was going to be my last time seeing him. Even as I write this at this very moment, it just doesn’t feel real.

My prayers go out to his family, his girlfriend, his friends.

I’ll miss his kindness. I’ll miss his brilliant humor. I’ll miss hearing about The Girl. I’ll miss hearing his “Manchild” greeting exchange with Teddy. I’ll miss Tim.

We all will.

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